A fire in the Millers Reach area in 1996 burnt 37,000 acres and consumed hundreds of homes.

The cause was never officially determined but the Alaska Division of Forestry says fireworks were suspected. As Alaskans celebrate our nation's independence, they're reminded to be careful with fireworks.

It was on another hot summer day 18 years ago that pyrotechnics are suspected to have caused the devastating forest fire. Conditions back on June 2, 1996 were very dry and windy. The Millers Reach wildlife would destroy 344 structures.

Big Lake resident Philip Hill lost his home just three days after competing an expensive remodel. He says he suffered upwards of $150,000 in personal property losses after the fire, a fire that destroyed many more homes and cost the state and federal government millions.

Now Hill has a new house but he hasn't forgot the day he lost his home.

“You have to take things for what they area and if you don't move forward you're not going to get anywhere. I mean it's just life you know,” Hill said, standing on the spot his old home used to stand.

The Millers Reach fire took 13 days to be considered under control.